Episode 1090 – BMW Hires Former Audi Chief, Mitsubishi Up in U.S., Hyundai’s Fuel Cell CUV

March 13th, 2013 at 11:48am

Runtime: 7:09

BMW is beating Audi as the number one luxury automaker in the world and now it just won another battle with its German rival. Mitsubishi saw one of the largest gains in the American market last month. Hyundai announced that it will sell its hydrogen-fuel-cell electric vehicle, called the ix35, in the U.S. All that and more, plus we get up close and personal with Mazda’s first diesel race car.

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Hello and welcome to a brand new episode of Autoline Daily. It’s Wednesday, March 13th, 2013. I’m Sean McElroy filling in for John who’s out sick today. Let’s get to today’s stories.

BMW is beating Audi as the number one luxury automaker in the world and now it just won another battle with its German rival. According to Bloomberg, BMW just hired Audi’s former sales and marketing chief, Peter Schwarzenbauer. His position isn’t official yet but he will report directly to BMW’s CEO, Norbert Reithofer. Schwarzenbauer left Audi late last year as part of a shake-up of Volkswagen management.

And speaking of Audi, the company announced it will expand its diesel presence in the U.S. even further. Last year the company announced it will offer diesels in the A8, A7, A6 and Q5 and now Audi says that the next-generation A4 will be available with a 2.0 liter TDI diesel in the American market when it hits showrooms in 2014.

The German luxury maker also announced it will unveil the A3 sedan at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. Reuters reports the small sedan will launch in the U.S. next year and is expected to cost around $30,000.

Mitsubishi saw one of the largest gains in the American market last month. Sales were up 33 percent from a year ago, while the overall market was only up 8 percent. Mitsubishi only sells four models in the U.S.: the Lancer, the Outlander and Outlander Sport, and the little electric i. But to put it in context, all their sales put together are about the same as how many Mustangs Ford sells every month. That’s not a lot of sales. Even so, unlike Suzuki, Mitsubishi says it is not going to abandon the American market, and they must be mighty pleased that they posted such a dramatic increase in sales.

Hyundai announced that it will sell its hydrogen-fuel-cell electric vehicle, called the ix35, in the U.S. It is based on the company’s Tucson CUV platform, it will generate 134 horsepower and has a range of 370 miles. I think it will be interesting to see if Hyundai will sell many units of the ix35. The are not many hydrogen refueling stations in the U.S., which may have been the downfall of Honda’s FCX Clarity that debuted in 2008. WardsAuto reports Honda has only sold 40 FCX Clarity’s.

In other Hyundai news, the company released a computer-generated video of its redesigned Equus luxury sedan. The 2014 model will now include LED headlights and taillights, a 9.2-inch center mounted screen and Hyundai has dumped the analog gauges in favor of a TFT LCD display. The Equus is powered by the same 3.8 Liter V6 or the optional 5.0 Liter V8. I drove the current V8 version and was very impressed by its performance and overall driving behavior. I just hope that hood ornament on the new model does not make it to the production version, it just seems a little too over the top for my tastes. Look for the 2014 Equus to make its official debut next month at the New York Auto Show.

Coming up next, a look at Mazda’s first diesel race car.

(The designer walk-around of the Mazda6 diesel race car can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Before I go I want to remind you to join us this Thursday night for Autoline After Hours, when our guest will be Klaus Busse, the head of interior design at Chrysler. So join John McElroy and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider information in the business this Thursday at 6PM Eastern time at our website Autoline.tv.

And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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59 Comments to “Episode 1090 – BMW Hires Former Audi Chief, Mitsubishi Up in U.S., Hyundai’s Fuel Cell CUV”

  1. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I am a happy camper today with all the news on diesels.Hey……I’m easy to please ;}>

  2. Bradley Says:

    A diesel Mighty Max compact truck would allow Mitsubishi to grab a few more runs of the ladder helping them out of their hole.

  3. Bradley Says:

    ugh..runs = rungs

  4. Darren Says:

    Mazda should release the diesel 6 into USA in a sport performance version and beat Audi and BMW to the punch.

  5. Drew Says:

    I hope John recovers (early St. Pat’s celebration last night?) for tomorrow’s AAH.

  6. T. Bejma Says:

    Henrik Fisker resigns and it sounds like the Fisker company may soon be Chinese owned…


  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m not finding anything about how much the Hyundai fuel cell thing will cost. In the past, I’ve seen numbers like a half million dollars for such vehicles.

  8. T. Bejma Says:


    The only one sold in the US, the Honda FCX Clarity from today’s show costs $600/month to lease. Don’t even think you can buy it outright yet…

  9. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: from earlier this am, 4.7mpg? It would have to be dual fuel as to not couse range anxiety lol.There are lots of ‘not-quite-viable-yet alternative fuels that are being explored right now for the future.Bio diesel is here now and as you pointed out,cheaper to make.I see B50 in 5 years as a strong possibility.

  10. C-Tech Says:

    The Mitsu news is not surprising to me as I see a lot of them have shown up in rental fleets around here

    Also showing up have been a number of Infiniti JX35′s lately

    Test drove a 2011 Equus that was traded in straight-up for a 2012 Malibu. It has all the gadgets you expect in a top-shelf luxury car, but no style. Needs refinement and a point of distinction

  11. C-Tech Says:

    Get better soon John !

  12. PhoenixMark Says:

    #4 VW should be first with their GTD.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4.7 mpg on LN2, 16.9 mpg on gasoline. It loses a lot of performance, and loses most of its trunk. It was an interesting exercise, though.

    I know someone who uses B100 in an older Benz, as long as it doesn’t get too cold. He uses filtered fryer oil. If it gets too cold, though, I think below the mid-40′s, the stuff doesn’t flow, so the car won’t run.

    I suspect today’s diesel cars and light trucks are a lot pickier about fuel than his early 80′s Benz. The car is new enough to be a turbo, though.

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    Hyundai’s Fuel Cell – I’m all for hydrogen & fuel cells …. but methinks Hyundai’s jumped the gun by at least a good five to ten years

    Audi Diesels – Hate the company but I’m glad they’re bringing a round of diesels our way as well . Question still being …. If They Bring It … Will They ( paying customers ) Come ? Only time will tell .

    Mazda racing diesel – Nice idea . Great way to promote their new passenger diesels …. Question being …. will it work ….. and will they come ? ( see Audi comment )


    Get well Johnny M !

  15. Feldman Says:

    #1: I too am hugely pleased with Audi’s decision to offer diesels in all these models, and, if BMW and Mercedes know what’s good for them, THEY SHOULD TOO. After all, Merc used to offer great Diesel E and S class models for decades, when BMW sure did not.

    Leftover from yesterday’s show:

    ” pedro fernandez Says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    The expense vs profits of developing a large, rear wheel flagship is what keeps this from happening, ”

    Then explain to me how CHRYSLER was able to do it and have a huge sales success with its excellent RWD, 120 inch wheelbase, 300, Charger and Challenger.

    “I just don’t see either US brands making a dent against the German competition which has had a long time absolute domination of that segment worldwide.”

    I agree with you, but not because it’s that much more expensive for GM to offer a decent RWD flagship, when Chrysler has already done it and did well with them for a decade.

    ” Jim Thykeson Says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Diesel will be gone by 2020.Hydrogen and CNG will be the prepellant of choice.”

    Of course it will, dear. But they will face stiff competition from flying pigs, which, thanks to the Boys in Research, will finally be able to get off the ground.

    (although it is not yet revealed what these porcines will use for a “propellent” (SIC!))

    Thanks for the comic relief, Jim!


    Actually one of my first cousins, a no-good Public school Math teacher who runs in terror when I try to ask him a simple math puzzle, and the only one of 14 first cousins of mine that used to be an alcoholic, told me that he wanted to do this, many years ago.

    I think the Chinese should allow the laws of natural selection to do their magic and vastly improve the average IQ of their already very bright population,

    by not only allowing these idiotic T-shirts,

    But also allowing these geniuses to use motorcycle helmets made from cardboard.

  16. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: yeah,straight fryer oil isn’t really the right way to go imho.A 50/50 mix with ulsd would be better overall,and keeps the fuel system cleaner,and actually burns cleaner too.

    Look at how long ago we,here on this forum,have discussed in length the merits of bio diesel as opposed to the other alternatives.

    Once diesels become more ‘mainstream’ I think since e10 is mandatory,they should make b20 a mandatory thing.Let’s git goin’ America….

  17. C-Tech Says:

    @ #13 Kit do we know the same guy? I had a service manager who had a whole garage set-up to filter the used veg. oil and add the correct amount of additives to run his old M-B turbodiesel. His next project was going to be an alcohol-powered car. By the way, he always chose a truck for his demo car from the dealer, because he used it to collect the used oil from restaurants.

  18. Feldman Says:


    Dodge Fart vs Ford Out of Focus: Clash of the Titans. For those who care ( I sure don’t, for either, but find the Focus FAR better looking than the confused Fart)

  19. Lex Says:

    Sean, Great Show!

    Equus is building the type of cars that Lincoln should be doing. I agree with Sean’s opinion of the Equus hood ornament. Equus should design a medalion similar to what Mercedes Benz & BMW use.

  20. ColoradoKid Says:

    Crude Oil

    Prices are plummeting . Too much in reserve . Demand is at an all time low .

    So why are gas prices at the pump so high you may ask ?

    There’s a major drought across the nations farm belt – the worst since the Dust Bowl era – snow pack in the RM is at 45% to 55% of normal so things aren’t gonna be much better this year ….. which equals ;

    Higher Corn prices = Higher prices for refineries to create E85 ( 5 x higher than this time last year ) = Higher gas prices at the pump = more demand on corn production = raising corn prices for beef , pork , poultry and lamb producers = higher food prices …. on top of transportation costs sky rocketing due to increased fuel prices = even higher food prices .

    So congratulate yourself after every tank of E85 you use for raising the cost of your groceries at the checkout counter … not that we have a choice thanks to the genius’s in DC

    Consequences vs Benefits . Consequences winning by a furlong .

    And …. errr….. hate to tell all you BioDiesel advocates this …. but the exact same scenario will be created should we ever be foolish enough to risk our food production/ farmable land / water resources * for the sake of a tank of fuel

    and again ;

    There Is No Free Lunch

    Especially with biodiesel / E85 where in fact …… there may be no lunch at all ;-)

    Think about that for a minute before jumping down my throat

    * BTW the midwest Ogallala aquafer everyone’s depending so much on is currently at less than 50%

  21. ColoradoKid Says:

    Feldman – Where ya been mate ? BMW & Mercedes are already bringing over the diesels … with more announced and more coming by the month !

  22. Feldman Says:

    #21: Merc and BMW already had the SUV Diesels and BMW had the 335d but as of now they only sell Diesel SUVs. I know BMW announced some car diesels some time ago, but that’s in the future. Will Merc bring C E and S class diesels?

  23. ColoradoKid Says:


    Aint that nice of us T Bejma ? Donating yet another company … albeit a failing car company to another foreign entity that we in essence financed and paid for in full ? China this time .

    Generous little buggers … aint we ?

    Yeah …. our tax dollars sure are being used wisely by the Feds …. financing China’s well being that is

  24. ColoradoKid Says:


    C , E . GL , GLK … upcoming A Class , S Class …. you name it …. other than the SL , SLK and SLS there’ll be diesels for all ….. with rumors abounding about a possible G Class diesel as well

    ( but there’s also a persistent rumor the SL or the SLK may get a diesel as well ….. though that one I somehow rather doubt )

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    BMW stopped selling diesel cars in the U.S., but yeah, maybe they will start again, hopefully with a 4 cylinder that will get better mpg than the discontinued 335d.

  26. C-Tech Says:

    @ #20 Since methanol only takes the sugar from corn and the byproduct is the protein for corn feed, the ethanol produced does not increase feed costs for steers and pigs. Meat priced may be going up because the drought of last year caused a number of cattle to head to market early rather than (die in the fields)later.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For now, VW has a monopoly on high mpg diesel cars in the U.S., with diesel versions of nearly everything they sell in the U.S., even the Beetle Convertible.

    Since they updated the E350 gas engine with direct injection and other changes, the current E350 diesel gets only marginally better mpg than the gas version. They need to offer us an E250 CDI, which has an adequate ~200 hp, and exceptional fuel economy.

  28. Feldman Says:

    27 “the current E350 diesel gets only marginally better mpg than the gas version.”

    Are you referring to the utterly inaccurate and biases (against the diesels) EPA numbers or accurately measured MPG?

    If the EPA numbers are similar, then in all likelihood you will get far better DIESEL MPG in REAL Life driving than with the gas E350.

  29. G.A.Branigan Says:

    E85,nearest station to me is 166.87 miles north of me.I have never run,or seen E85.B5/10/20 within 10 miles of where I am.Hmmm,I wonder which one I’ll go for?

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The EPA numbers of the E350 Bluetec are 2 better than the E350 gas. That’s all three number, city, highway, and combined.

    CR got substantially better mpg with the diesel, 5 mpg better combined, and 8 mpg better highway, 39 vs 31. I think that was the old gasser, though. I’ll try to find out. If CR’s data are for the new gasser, yes, the diesel does a lot better, and on barely more expensive fuel, because the gas Benz needs premium.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Passat TDI has a much greater advantage over the gas version than the E350d, though. In CR’s tests, the Passat TDI gets 41.6% better highway mpg than the standard gas version in CR’s tests, while the E350d gets only 25.8% better than the E350.

    Also, it looks like CR’s numbers for the E350 are for the 2013 with the GDI engine.

  32. T. Bejma Says:


    According the USGS, the Ogallala Aquifer is actually at 92%…

    “The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains’ Ogallala Aquifer, reporting that water levels have declined by 8% from pre-irrigation levels.”

    “The report presents water-level change data in the aquifer in two separate periods: from 1950 – the time prior to significant groundwater irrigation development – to 2011, and 2009 to 2011.”


    Last time I flew over the Mississippi (last month) there were several areas over the banks.

    Chicken Little? ;-)

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    I believe that Chrysler “borrowed” Daimler’s old rwd platform to build the 300 and Charger, before that, they also got the now defunct Pacifica. Besides, the 300 is Chrysler’s flagship sedan but in no way competes, nor is expected to compete with the likes of the S or 7 series, however if Caddy or Lincoln came up with a flagship of their own, it would have to compete with and be compared to, the Germans.

  34. Jim Thykeson Says:

    For the non-believers that think Hyundai is bull-shitting, they would be in remorse if they knew that Norway and a large part of Scandanavia is already putting the hydrogen-fuel-cell infrastructure in place. Guess who one of the auto suppliers is? Why Hyundai of course! Thank God the auto companies are smart enough to move forward on their own with no help from ‘big-oil’. They know in the public’s eye they are the ‘whipping-boy’ that take all the blame for pollution and global-warming, etc. They are moving towards the new fuel come hell or high-water, and the oil companies be dammed. So Feld, it’s already happening in Scandanavia and Europe. I just hope Exxon doesn’t make the U.S. the last to the new-fuel dance.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    With the retirement of the shuttle, even rockets are moving from hydrogen fuel back to diesel, or something very similar.

  36. HtG Says:

    34 Norway is an odd case, because they are a major oil producing nation. They also have terrific hydroelectric with which they can peel off hydrogen. Didn’t they also give battery cars a go with that Think car?

  37. cwolf Says:

    We often swap tales of our service visits, so here is a list of J.D.Power’s list of sevice satisfaction:


    For volume brands, GMC wears the crown. For the luxo segment, Lexus nails it for the fifth year followed close to its tail by only a few points… Cadillac. Enjoy!!

  38. cwolf Says:

    I’d like to welcome our new Pope Francis. May his spirit ride with us to keep us safe on our journeys.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, at least Toyota has moved up from the bottom where they lingered for many years, Land Rover continues its pathetic last place standing, why can’t they get it right? yet L.R. owners are one loyal bunch, they keep coming back for more and more abuse.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m surprised VW is so high. They must have improved a lot in the last ten years. The service experience is a lot of why I kept my ’02 Jetta TDI only two years.

  41. cwolf Says:

    #39 &40

    Pretty interesting,..eh? I find it rather sad Chry. seems to be at the bottom for everthing good!

    It is good for VW to have such a rating because if you are a repete customer to the service dept., at least you should be treated like one of the boys! yuk- yuk!!!

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    Most Lexus dealers sell and service Toyota alongside them so you have to wonder how there can be so much discrepancy between the 2, I suppose GMC has to do with the fact that they only do trucks and SUV’s ?

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    Guys this also depends a lot on the dealers, regardless of what they sell, I’ve had bad experiences with Toyota dealers over and over again, even with our last purchase last June, we never got a survey form. letter or any phone calls from the dealership at least acting like they were interested in how it’s been going with the new car, zilch!

  44. HtG Says:

    Once upon a time I was a Dodge dealer. My CSI scores were consistently near 100%. We took pride and great care in keeping our customers taken care of properly. We thought that was the way to be a succesful dealer. When the “go forward” dealers were selected in the 2009 bankruptcy, we were not among the chosen. Our CSI scores meant little to the ones selecting the dealers to be ROBBED of their franchises. It gives me great pleasure in seeing the Dodge (and RAM) dealers as a group at the bottom of this list. Good for the Chrysler executives! What might Marchionne dream up to remedy this problem?”

    In my own experience, the service people are just falling over themselves to please. Like someone has a gun to their heads. It’s weird these days

  45. HtG Says:

    sorry, that was a comment from the Autonews piece. The last paragraph is mine. Sorry,again

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My main problem with Toyota service departments is that they don’t pick up their feet when getting in and out of my car, and always leave greasy smudges on the door sill. Now that my free oil changes are done, I probably won’t be going back, unless something breaks.

    I didn’t have much trouble with my VW, but when I took it for an oil change, which non-dealers weren’t prepared to do on a TDI, it took 3 hours. They scheduled their appointments like doctors.

  47. T. Bejma Says:


    Crap HtG, I just Friend Requested DLRL130 because I thought it was you…

  48. HtG Says:

    You don’t need to send a request, TB. ;)

  49. cwolf Says:

    The news reported a barge hit and ignited a gas pipeline in La. Aren’t these petroleum mishaps occuring just a little too often? Does it sound like another convienent reason for another price increase?
    And how about the desired tar-sand pipe line from Canada to the Gulf and the many needed jobs it will create? I watched part of a CBC show last week exposing the consequences of refinement; Generations of whole families sticken by cancer, fish with hidious growths and fishing as a way of life for the Indian now deprived to them. The aquafers and watersheds for tens or perhaps for a hundred kilometers unfit for consumption. All wild life seems to be effected as a result of fuel in ones tank and dollars in someones pocket. So one has to ponder; if the petroleum industry of Canada does nothing to prevent, resolve or even acknowledge what has happened since the first litre pumped,what makes one feel things will be any different once that first mile of pipe line crosses into the US? And for what… a few thousand temp jobs that ends once the pipe hits the Gulf and all the product goes to China? Regardless, I bet petrol never gets any cheaper just because we now are utilizing our resource of oil…. therefore, I’ll prefer to keep my water pure for now,my fish edible and my land free of oil contamination. Nite all!

  50. Jim Thykeson Says:

    Don’t give the Kochs another pipe-line just build a refinery in No. Dakota at the Baken field and another one in Montana across from the tar sands. The morthern tier needs refinery capacity that will be able to serve the top half of the country in a more equitable fashion.

  51. kevin m Says:


  52. Earl Says:

    If the Hyundai Equss is getting an update in 2014 does anyone know if the Genesis is getting an update too? Not that it’s in needs one as it already has a 3.8L with direct injection and above all an 8 speed automatic.

  53. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #51 kevin

    When sales are relatively low, percentages don’t always tell the story (it takes a blip in sales to drastically bump percent, or can). And your comment of your local dealership; it is rarely when you can say “I”, this or that, and make comment on a trend for a whole manufacturer (whether it be quality, sales or other). You’ve got to look at the whole picture.

  54. Feldman Says:

    #51 The lengthy comment on the show on Mitsu sales utterly missed the point.

    Mitsu has been bleeding BILLIONS in the US market, they commited huge blunder after huge blunder, their model lineup is stale and ugly, and they have no chance in hell of reversing their long-term decline.

    If Mitsu CEOs had smaller Egos, and the parent company shallower pockets, their US arm would have declared bankruptcy and left long ago, like SUZUKI did.

  55. Feldman Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    March 13th, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    For now, VW has a monopoly on high mpg diesel cars in the U.S..”

    DIesels by other makers also have very high MPG, as a % of their gas versions they are just as good (Cayenne and X5 and GL SUVs for example).

    The more important point is that so far (this may change with the Cruze and the Mazda 6 diesel), VW is the only maker offering AFORDABLE diesels, that can be bought by the millions of people who buy low and mid-priced cars in the Accord and Civic price ranges.

    Another big benefit of these diesels is their HUGE Range, even the M-B E Diesel would have a real range of 700-800 miles. This is very convenient on long trips where you want to do it non-stop (for gas). All my cars had about 500 miles real range, which made it impossible to go anywere on a single tank (DC, Baltimore and even Philly are about 530 miles away, NY is 600, Boston is close to 800. With a diesel, I would be able to go to almost all of the above on one tank!

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like the convenience of long range, though I don’t really take advantage of it. I stop more often than every 700 miles, even if I don’t need gas.

    When I said high mpg diesel cars, I meant HIGH MPG, as in 40-50 mg, and I said CARS. Yeah, the diesel SUV’s get much improved mpg over their gas counterparts, but the mpg isn’t my idea of high, and they aren’t my idea of cars.

  57. ColoradoKid Says:

    Once again Wall Street comes up a winner …

    ….. at Detroits ( the city ) expense


    Yesiree …. unregulated markets sure are the way to go now … aren’t they ( not )

    Been wondering T Bejma where all that money’s been going ? We both should of known ;-)

  58. ColoradoKid Says:


    One does need to ask how a company that had attained such great success worldwide in the 90′s ( including racing w/ WRC Dakar etc ) not to mention having gone from one innovative car to the next has fallen to such extreme depths now .

  59. T. Bejma Says:


    Sounds like Detroit was just following the example of the federal government and spending what they didn’t have.

    Anyone dumb enough to loan Detroit money deserves what they get…